Connecting Past & Present
Continuing the Discussion
Discrimination and racism of varying degrees have always existed in Canada. The history of Japanese Canadian’s is one shaped by discrimination and racism. It affects Canadians from all the communities and regions of Canada. It is a story that continues generations later.
Let’s Talk about Yellow Peril (captions available in English and French). View video with English transcripts.
Many survivors were reluctant to share what they experienced. New generations recognize the importance of preserving this episode of history. They have only begun discussing the impact of these injustices.
In 2020, the COVID-19 global pandemic ignited new waves of anti-Asian racism. Statistics Canada reported that Asians were experiencing more frequent harassment and attacks. Another report, A Year of Racist Attacks, found that children (under 18) were more likely to be victims of physical attacks than adults. The harassment usually occurred in public spaces like grocery stores, streets, or parks.
In 2021, Bloomberg magazine called Vancouver the “Anti-Asian hate crime capital of North America.” The pandemic resurfaced long-simmering racial tensions. A history of racism cannot and should not be ignored.
Let’s Talk About Microaggressions (captions available in English and French). View video with English transcripts.
Fear has often been successful in separating communities facing racism and discrimination. In the 1940s, the Native Brotherhood joined with B.C. politicians to ask Ottawa to bar Japanese Canadians from returning to the province.
Model Minority Myth (captions available in English and French). View video with English transcripts.
In Toronto, Chinese Canadian restaurant owners declared they would not serve Japanese Canadians. Yet, the Jewish community was the most open to hiring and renting to Japanese Canadians throughout the 1940s and 50s. The need for solidarity and conversations around racism, past, and present, has never been more important or more relevant.
In 1988 following the Redress Rally on Parliament Hill, David Suzuki said:
As victims of a great injustice, I also believe that Japanese Canadians assume an extra burden. We the victims know from experience the effects of racism and bigotry and so ours must be the first voices raised wherever we see prejudice rear up. Whether the bigotry is extended towards blacks, Sikhs, Jews, boat people, homosexuals or women, Japanese Canadians must be in the forefront against it…
The impact of legislated discrimination is still felt generations later. The communities where they were forcibly resettled have preserved little of their history.
To imagine a better future, we MUST know our past.
Interview with Addie and Lynn Kobayashi (captions available in English and French). View video with English transcripts.